Gary Woodland’s Swing

????????You should have an opportunity to see lots of Gary Woodland today at the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson, as he plays in the 2nd-to-last group and starts the final round one shot off the lead.

Woodland is a pretty long hitter and a very good athlete, so let’s take a look at what he’s doing in his swing, why don’t we?

First the address position, of course – looking down the line, you’ll see the arms are angled slightly outward and not hanging vertically or angling inward – that’s a good thing, and part of why Gary hits it so long.

He’s got more “squat” in the legs than I would prefer, but he’s an athletic guy and his address bias may have something to do with that.

????????Or else it’s a result of the squatting aspect of the address.

Difficult to get a decent hip action with a lot of squat in the legs, but Gary’s isn’t the worst I’ve seen.

The good thing is that he’s got his weight more over the feet, standing more erect, than bending out over the ball with his weight over the toes.

Gary has what you’d call a left-biased address with a vertical spine position.

His position, when you look at his head, might lead you to say he’s center-biased, but when you look at his overall stance face-on and picture an “A,” that “A” is leaning to the left, and is not leaning to his right or even vertical.

His spine angle is vertical, and you’ll remember that both the bias and spine tilt are subset principles in the UGS.  He also stays centered on the back swing, and doesn’t have any spine tilt, which means Gary would have issues getting a powerful impact position if he didn’t employ the Trebuchet Drop.

He does however employ the Drop, as you can see by impact, he’s gotten the head back and to the right to get that power spine tilt at impact.  The address position and back swing bias are responsible for the slightly-awkward “leaning forward” finish position.  I’d swear that’s Nick Watney at the finish…


This is the problem many Stack & Tilters encounter as well – if you’re biased to the left and not shifting anything to the right, you literally have no where to go at impact and through.  Gary solves that with the Trebuchet Drop (that’s why it’s an Absolute UGS principle- it will save any swing from the top if you use it).

Gary Woodland Swings Driver


Looking at the swing down-the-line, it’s impossible to take the club away inside with a left-leaning bias, so Gary has the classic high and away takeaway, which means having to re-route the club and arms (dropping them inside where they should have been) to get the right angle to the ball from the top.

What Trackman Shows About Gary’s Swing

Gary currently averages 300.4 yards driving, with an average club impact speed of 122.47 mph, with 179.32 mph ball speed, which is not the greatest Smash Factor in the world (191 ranking, which is actually abysmal).  His accuracy is also not great (87th).

Spin Rate 2686 rpm, with a Launch Angle of 9.84, Average Carry 292.7 yards.

My impression is that he’d get more out of his driver with a better address setup using more MCS principles (posture and bias, spine tilt), because a guy generating 122 mph club impact speed with a better down swing (less compensation) would improve his Smash Factor and accuracy and drive it even longer and more accurately without having to increase his impact speed whatsoever.

If you’re going to hit it long, you may as well swing MCS and hit it really, really long – and Gary has that potential.  With his physique, he should be hitting it as long as Bubba Watson, if not longer.

And here, my friends, is the point I’m making – Gary Woodland is a pretty good swinger and a much better golfer than I am, but he could be swinging it better than he does.  And that’s my opinion…

23 thoughts on “Gary Woodland’s Swing

  1. Buddhabob

    don’t see what the big deal is with this guy. Feels like the marketers are reaching here to do some selling because averaging 300 today is what? I mean Dunaway in his prime with a persimmon wood would be humiliating him and carrying 50-60 yards over his head. The marketing geniuses for the PGA are really scratching around and trying to find the next stars.

    Every month it seems their highlighting a new zoo animal, one they’ve fed and preened on kibble. I long for the free ranging wide open spaces of the Serengeti. Give me a Greg Norman, a Nicklaus, a Zuback any day. As for the Trackman. Can anyone imagine Nicklaus spending more that a few minutes with it, seriously? It would have meant less time for fishing. He already knew by using his own eyes and by feeling with his own hands what adjustments needed to be made if any.

    All you are left with now DJ is the mental anguish of knowing that you apparently don’t swing any faster than Sang Moon Bae. That is if you invest in the Trackman. Give me instead the free and open plains of the Serengeti any day.

    1. D Watts Post author

      This is the point I made in yesterday’s posting, buddhabob – I have spent 9 years on my swing research, and it was 6 years in (2/3 of the total time) without ever having any clue what my actual swing speed was.

      I went by what we’ve gone by historically – ball flight, shape and distance.

      I hit the longest drives I’ve ever hit to date in the summer of 2009 – never had a clue what my swing speed was.

      I like the Trackman actually for the other metrics – Smash Factor is good to know, and things like spin rate and launch angle.

      Gary Woodland is a solid player, I just think he could use improvement on his swing, which is likely the reason he doesn’t have a handful of Tour wins already…

  2. Andreas

    For speed, GW is one of a few tourguys that have serious speed. Search for him and Callaway longest drive something. He actually posted a ballspeed of 195 with a 48″ club, likely 130mph ss. Think he hit 350y+.

    All old stars would use Trackman had they been able to. You need to know what your goal is except for a costly balltracker. The combine is an excellent tool to improve your game with. You can learn certain shots as it gives immediate feedback. Be it short game or long game. And a pro would never not use it for gaining more distance, if you see you get 3y more by lofting up 1* would you not if money was no issue?

    1. D Watts Post author

      I don’t have any doubt the old guys would have used Trackman. Heck, I don’t have much use for most tech devices, but as Andreas says, you can get big increases in distances very quickly using Trackman to figure out your specs.

      I have the same swing now as I had before using the TM, but I’m swinging easier and getting the same distances now because of the feedback it gave me.

      Just like Sergio, GW’s leaving a lot of money behind on the tee blocks…

  3. Buddhabob

    I think very,very early on Nicklaus figured out his prime launch angles and that hitting up on the ball would yield a different result than playing off the middle of his stance. You just don’t need a Trackman to figure that out, “takes no ghost come from the grave to tell me that Horatio.” – gone fishing.

    And DJ if you really want to spook the machines put 15 strips of lead tape on the head of your driver. Step back and swing 112 mph and watch the ball go 350. The added mass in the head of your club will give you more yardage because you are simply strong enough to control and handle it. You’d be swinging a hammer instead of a stick of bamboo and you’d also create more lag oddly enough in my opinion. It’s a way to circumvent the whole swing speed obsession that is the craze today. Lets face it. Swing speed is the playground of the young. I think that youth offers more fast twitch. You can train for it but basically you don’t see many 50 year old Olympian sprinters for a reason. Theres an unspectacular kid on GRX demonstrating his swing speed in a garage in the winter while he was warming up. He had his SS Radar up to 155. Probably the only thing that distinguished him was that he was 22.

    1. Andreas

      Believe me when I say I have tested putting on weight to see what happens. To maximize distance you should go as heavy head as you can swing without losing speed. The speed goes away faster than the mass will compensate for. Trust me on that one. But if you can add 10g without losing speed its excellent. Cant remember the program but think 10g adds 2-3y. My experience contradicts that though. Go to a head weighing 190g instead of 200 and you lose about 3-4mph ballspeed, that is for me and the guy I practice with, also a LDer. Going to 205-206g and I lose 2-3mph ballspeed. For me its probably a balance issue in the club but its that much for me. Stronger guys can do heavier but there is a very fine line where its quickly going down.

      So go as heavy as you can without speedloss, Remember you need a much stiffer shaft to compensate the weight. I found my sweetspot in heads at 197-198g. I have a club that has a 2oz heavier head, I lose 15mph.

      Just my experience so don´t take it as a fact, try yourselves.

      1. D Watts Post author

        I’ve got an R7 with the removable weights, and I’ve played with having an extra 24g in the head by putting weights from my TM 3-hybrid in there – if I remember, I didn’t lose much speed but got a whole lot of bash in those swings – I should get that R7 head put an extra-stiff shaft on it and see what happens…

        1. jh32

          I had to lower my weight because with the extra weight I was getting to high a ball flight. I find that around 16-18 it optimal for both distance and flight pattern for me.. Jim

            1. jh32

              yes, a 12 in the heel, 4 in toe, and 1’s in the middle area. I tend to leave the face open a little, so I put the 12 there. But with you, an even distribution would be good and more weight with a stiffer shaft would also prevent the too high ball flight. I have a stiff shaft, so the kick was throwing the ball higher with more weight.

  4. Seb

    You’ve got 300rpm less spin rate on your drive DJ, remember when I was struggling to get any distance on my irons? And then I sent you that video and when I looked at it my ball position was way back.

    That’s the same thing I see here with you and this guy, this guy has his ball at address inside his left armpit, which causes a break in his left wrist at address, at impact that will cause him to hit down more on the ball.

    Your left arm at address is straight in line with the club which means you will either be through the ball at impact or slightly upwards.

    Before I made the change in ball position I was finding it tough to regularly hit my 7 iron 150 yards, after changing the ball position so my left arm and the club make a straight line to the ball almost vertical, I can get my PW to 150 carry if I really go for it, it’s a massive difference. And there is noticeably less spin because I can now get my PW rolling forwards after landing, so total distance could be more than 150.

    The difference means that I can launch a 4 iron over 200 yards into a 30mph wind with rubbish range balls, simply because there is less spin on the ball.

    The Old mantra of hitting down on the ball is, in my opinion, tosh. Harry Vardon was reportedly one of the best iron players ever, and he never ever took a divot with any club, only clipping the top of the grass. Using the loft of the club is more efficient in my opinion, I’d be interested to see if anyone ever hit irons with no grooves on them?

    1. D Watts Post author

      You’d probably get knucklers with no grooves, Seb – the early irons were smooth-faced, and you couldn’t hit a straight feathery with one to save your life 😉

  5. Brandon

    Deej quick question. If you have a center to right side bias, does that mean your trebuchet drop would be less than left biased swings?

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s correct, Brandon – in fact, with the right-biased swings, the Trebuchet Drop is not very noticeable at all, as you can see my top vs impact positions in a swing from yesterday…

      dj top-imp

      It is always there, but the better your position at address and the top, the less you will actually see it, rather than feeling it.

      But that lack of big head motion from the top to the bottom – might have something to do with why I have a 150 Smash Factor or close to it with most swings, and repeatability. There’s so little motion, very little can go wrong from the top to impact.

  6. Buddhabob

    DJ I wasn’t joking about the lead tape. Apparently Mobley uses tons of it and leaves a small flat spot on the ball when he hits it well. He’s a big guy. like you.

    1. Andreas

      Not trying to contradict you or anything but I do know the guys and LDers talk out of their ***** plenty lol! He puts on 10g to make it 210g, same as George Slupski when he won his title. I have hosted a few events Mobley has attended and most of the elite in LD, no dents whatsoever in any balls hit. Clubheads, now that is a different matter!

    2. Andreas

      And just for clarification, Mobley will tell it like it is and knows his stuff. Much more than basically all LDers, but putting flat spots on balls is not true, golfballs break before that happens. If you were sarcastic, I missed it:-)

    3. D Watts Post author

      I never assumed you were joking, buddhabob! I was serious about my R7…

  7. Buddhabob

    Andreas I had just heard that from someone over at GRX and passed it on. What do I know about any of this? Very little. Do you have any stories about Zuback the Silverback? That guy was cutting edge and dominant for quite a number of years. Ferocious swing but some don’t like it. I look at it as a guy just trying to get the most bang for his buck and I admire him for it. I know that he was injured a lot though from pushing the envelope. And he is or was a heavy lifter.

    His swing looks like a very,very straight wide takeaway to extremely high hands with his left heel not just floating but pushed straight up off the toes. Then he brings it down fairly wide and probably ends up outside in but apparently he was very accurate for a long drive guy. Very unorthodox and demanding swing but fascinating to see the ends he went to. He must have had a massive gravity drop after that backswing so there was method to his madness. Then there’s that cat Maurice Allen with that tornado of a swing, pretty outside in but very fast. Anyway I’m off topic, sorry guys.

    1. Andreas

      Zuback is very accurate, nowadays there are lots of guys with speed and of course its tougher but he is always solid. He always brings 2 big tourbags full with drivers. Everything is already considered, every condition tested. Always brings 6 drivers to the teebox. Still the rolemodel for all LDers.
      Had a few injuries but grinds it out no matter what. Knows his numbers and how to take advantage of the grid. Very strong guy that still works out more than most young guys. Will make it tough for the Seniors, next year I think. Top guy. Makes all he meets feel welcome. As you can see he just is a champion, nothing else to say!

      1. D Watts Post author

        I think I’m going to have to take jmwald’s Long Drive clubs to the range today and hit them, all this long drive talk is getting me pumped up!

        “Video at 11?” 😉

  8. Buddhabob

    Zuback sounds like a very nice guy and a real gamer, no doubt a founding father of long drive. His swing is unconventional obviously. I think to compensate for his smaller circumference he swings practically with straight arms fully extended thru the cycle. Takes a lot of strength to do that. I admire that he tries to squeeze every last ounce of potential out of himself and its amazing how fast he swings with his arms like that. He extends so far thru impact that he makes almost a full backbend so I wonder about his lower back and the stresses it takes, but he looks to be a very strong guy nonetheless and I’m sure he knows what he is doing more so that practically anyone else out there.

Comments are closed.